O is for . . . Oregon everything!

Of course O is for Oregon. But it’s more than that. Driving along the roads in this state, one is likely to see big green, yellow, orange or black letter O’s on the windows and bumpers of passing cars. You may even see flags bearing the letter O, but these O’s don’t just stand for Oregon. Oh no. You see, we don’t have a pro football team in this state, so people are crazy about our college teams, specifically the University of Oregon Ducks–green and yellow–and Oregon State University’s Beavers–orange and black. All it takes is the one letter to show their loyalty. Fans put it on their cars, their clothes, their foreheads and chests, anywhere, just one big O. Of course folks in Oregon forget that there are other states with names that start with the letter O. Oklahoma and Ohio for example, have state universities, too. But here, O stands for Oregon.

I went to San Jose State, so I don’t care who wins the football games, but I like the black and orange colors better, so if I were going to buy a sweatshirt . . . No, I don’t dare. Once, while I was walking Annie on the Bayfront, a drunk staggered by and said, “Hey, an orange dog. Yay, Beavers.” I didn’t have the heart to tell him Annie is tan, not orange, and neither one of us is into sports.

O. Around here, everything starts with the letter O. It’s alphabet soup with too many O’s. For example:
OCCC–Oregon Coast Community College (as opposed to CCC–Central Coast Chorale)
OCA–Oregon Coast Aquarium
OCCA–Oregon Coast Council for the Arts
OCP–Oregon Catholic Press
OMTA–Oregon Music Teachers Association
OPB–Oregon Public Broadcasting
ODFW–Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

O–kay. You get the idea. There are more, but I’m drawing a blank. Help me out if you can think of other O abbreviations. 

I’m participating in this month’s A to Z blogging challenge. O stands for Oregon and just about everything in it. It could also stand for ocean, ode, origami, old, or ordinary, which Oregon is not. My alphabetical posts are distributed among my various blogs. Here is the schedule:
A Newsletter–A is for Annie
B Childless by Marriage–B is for Baby
C Unleashed in Oregon–C is for Crate
D Writer Aid–D is for Deadline
E Unleashed in Oregon–E is for Ear
F Unleashed in Oregon–F is for Fur
G Unleashed in Oregon–G is for Gunk
H Childless by Marriage–H is for Harley
I Unleashed in Oregon–I is for I-5
J Writer Aid–J is for Job
K Unleashed in Oregon–Key is for Keys
L Unleashed in Oregon–L is for Lick
M Unleashed in Oregon–M is for Milk-Bone
N Childless by Marriage–No is for No, I Don’t Know Children’s Songs
O Unleashed in Oregon
P Writer Aid
Q Unleashed in Oregon
R Unleashed in Oregon
S Unleashed in Oregon
T Childless by Marriage
U Unleashed in Oregon
V Writer Aid
W Unleashed in Oregon
X Unleashed in Oregon
Y Unleashed in Oregon
Z Childless by Marriage

More than 2000 other bloggers have signed up for the challenge. For more information, visit a-to-zchallenge.com You might find some great new blogs to follow. I know I will. Visit Writer Aid tomorrow to find out what P stands for.

Watch out for those beavers and ducks

Last Saturday on my way to and from Beaverton, OR, where I joined other authors for a reading at Borders, I ran into the Beaver hordes in Corvallis. Orange shirts everywhere. Somehow my morning trip matched up perfectly with those about to attend the Oregon State football game. And then when I got onto I-5, the cars heading south wore a blend of Beaver orange and black and Ducks yellow and green. Flags waved from the cars as if they were all part of a presidential motorcade. Apparently the University of Oregon also had a game that day. I don’t follow Oregon college football so I had no idea. However, being married to a football fanatic from Southern California, I could tell you when USC was playing.

I came back through Corvallis right after the Beavers game ended. Picture cars lined up for miles, the exit to the coast blocked with orange cones, men in orange vests directing traffic through the intersections. I thought I’d never get home. The last lap is a dark, two-lane road along the Yaquina River. I had headlights in my rear-view mirror all the way to the coast from beer-fueled, truck-driving Beaver fans anxious to continue the celebration in Newport.

People around here are crazy for the Beavers and the Ducks. In two weeks, they play each other in the game known as the Civil War. I’m not going anywhere near the stadium that day.

One has to wonder about teams named for ducks and beavers. What happened to fierce animals and wild warriors? A duck? I always thought I’d like to be a duck. Not only are many pretty, but they can swim, walk and fly. But they just eat bugs, right?

As for beavers, I recently learned that they are rodents. What makes them rodents is that their teeth keep growing. They chew wood to keep them from getting too long. They make elaborate dams, live there a while, then move on. Like Californians.

Both teams have the ugliest uniforms. I guess you can only do so much with orange and black and green and yellow. Of course my college team, the San Jose State University Spartans, has beautiful blue and gold uniforms but are not usually big winners.

We have some interesting logos here. The Oregon State Beavers have a vicious-looking beaver with gigantic teeth, wild eyes and long hair blowing backwards. They also have an O linked with an S. The University of Oregon goes by just a stylized green O. That’s it; an O. Now of course both universities ignore the fact that other colleges exist whose names also start with an O. In Oregon, it’s Ducks and Beavers. Period.

It seems ironic that I was headed to Beaverton the day I got caught in the Beaver football traffic. I even heard a commercial talking about the Church of the Beaver. Say what?

Oregon is known as the Beaver State. I have never seen a live beaver, but the word is certainly everywhere. In fact, we have a Beaver Creek down the road from us. My husband Fred and I kayaked down it a couple years ago in driving rain. In August. Become one with the water, our guide said. Yeah, right. But that’s another story.

I’m going to have to do some research on why this state is so beaverlicious. I’m thinking it has something to do with the hunters who made their livings collecting the beavers’ lush pelts. Stay tuned.

And check the football schedule before you drive through Corvallis or Eugene on a Saturday in November.

I welcome your comments, corrections and education for this California transplant who still doesn’t get all the nuances of being an Oregonian. Enlighten me, please.

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